Sweet cherry season

Five ways to enjoy them, plus buying and cooking tips and recipes

Great recipes for sweet cherries


1. In a sundae: Marinate pitted cherries in brandy for several hours, then spoon over vanilla ice cream.

2. In a salad: Toss pitted cherries with arugula or baby spinach, toasted chopped hazelnuts, and crumbled goat cheese. Dress with olive oil and raspberry vinegar.

3. In a quick "pudding": Fold orange zest, chopped pistachios, and vanilla into lightly sweetened mascarpone or ricotta. Top with chopped pitted cherries.

4. In pancakes: Stir a handful of quartered, pitted cherries and toasted sliced almonds into pancake batter. Serve with butter and powdered sugar.

5. In lemonade: Throw pitted cherries in a blender with fresh lemon juice and water (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice for every 1 cup water), plus sugar to taste. For frozen cherry lemonade, freeze the cherries and use crushed ice instead of water.

TIPS

Buying: Sweet cherries are at their peak now through July. Choose firm, plump fruit with smooth, shiny, unblemished skin.

Cooking: An inexpensive cherry pitter will save time if you plan to cook with the fruit; Crate and Barrel (800/967-6696) sells one for $3.95. You can also halve cherries with a paring knife and remove the pit with the knife's tip.

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